Colombia’s Duque Tests the Political Center, Angering Everyone

Colombia’s Duque Tests the Political Center, Angering Everyone
Colombia's President Ivan Duque at the presidential palace in Panama City, Sept. 10, 2018 (AP photo by Arnulfo Franco).

Colombia’s young president, Ivan Duque, just passed his 100-day mark in office, and the results so far show that a deeply divided country, after decades of war with guerrilla groups, will remain tough to govern as a fragile peace struggles to take hold. In the years to come, the 42-year-old Duque is sure to face headwinds made even worse by the polarization resulting from years of bitter conflict.

Duque’s approval ratings have collapsed during a period when a new presidency often benefits from open-minded optimism. One pollster, Invamer, recorded an approval rating of just 27 percent this month, down from 54 percent in September.

Colombians were not exactly deluded by hope when they elected Duque in a runoff vote against Gustavo Petro, a committed leftist and former guerrilla. The contrast offered to voters was sharp, with the right-of-center Duque embraced by his conservative mentor, former President Alvaro Uribe, who severely weakened Colombia’s largest guerrilla group, the Marxist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, during his time in office. Uribe then became a fierce critic of the landmark peace agreement with the FARC that was negotiated by his successor, Juan Manuel Santos. That deal sought to bring a definitive end to the half-century-old insurgency, establish a transitional justice system, and absorb the disarmed guerrillas into society. Duque had also been a critic of the agreement, promising to change it. But although his promises were not particularly dramatic, many Colombians thought they concealed grander plans.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article as well as three free articles per month. You'll also receive our free email newsletter to stay up to date on all our coverage:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having your own personal researcher and analyst for news and events around the globe. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of 15,000+ articles
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday
  • Weekly in-depth reports on important issues and countries
  • Daily links to must-read news, analysis, and opinion from top sources around the globe, curated by our keen-eyed team of editors
  • Your choice of weekly region-specific newsletters, delivered to your inbox.
  • Smartphone- and tablet-friendly website.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review